Spending Alert: jobs and tax extenders bill
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The Senate will take up H.R. 4213, the tax extenders bill today. The cost of the bill has seesawed as lawmakers feel pressure from increasing deficits. However, that may not be enough – Politico reports this morning that lawmakers are looking to restore spending, including $24 billion in Medicaid funding, cut from the bill by the House.
Before the House acted, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated this piece of legislation will increase budget deficits by about $84 billion for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. Between 2010 and 2020, the bill increases federal spending by $102 billion. Some of this spending is offset with tax increases,
As the CBO points out, a good portion of this bill would be designated “emergency” spending and so would not be subject to pay-go rules. We’ve written about this issue in the past. The emergency designation applies to three provisions in the bill, including the extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA (health care benefits for Americans who’ve lost their jobs). For lawmakers who claim we’re in a recovery, this seems like a questionable use of the emergency designation considering that all of these programs had already been financed (and declared “emergencies”) under previous legislation.